Former Duluth News-Tribune reporter Laurie Hertzel has just been announced as winner of the 2011 People’s Choice Award from the Minnesota Book Awards. On Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m., Ms. Hertzel will be at the library to read from her new memoir, News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist, published by the University of Minnesota Press.
Irreverent and insightful, Ms. Hertzel’s story vividly captures the changes taking place in the male-dominated world of journalism in the early '70s and society at large. Her journalistic endeavors covered the Twin Ports area up to the Iron Range and ultimately to the Soviet Union during the Gorbachev era. In Duluth’s sister city of Petrozavodsk, she met American-born Finns who had come as children with their parents to build a worker’s paradise under Stalin. The dream became a nightmare for many Finnish-Americans as they fell under suspicion and were rounded up at night for clandestine execution under Stalin’s purges.
Despite this grim and touching subject matter in later chapters of the book, Ms. Hertzel’s authorial voice from the first page shows her overwhelmingly humorous take on life. She is heir to James Thurber in her comic vision and to Mark Twain in her ironic observations of society and people.
In addition to her journalistic writing, Ms. Hertzel has also been the recipient of the Thomas Wolfe award in short fiction.
Copies of News to Me will be available for purchase after the reading.
This program is supported by the Minnesota Book Awards through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education – State Library Services and the Minnesota Library Foundation. The Minnesota Book Awards is a project of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, in partnership with the Saint Paul Public Library and the City of Saint Paul. For more information on the Minnesota Book Awards, visit http://www.thefriends.org/.